From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

O'Banyoun, Simon Peter

(born: 1798  -  died: 1875) 

Simon Peter O'Banyoun, said to have been born in Fayette County, KY, was an escape slave who made his way to Canada around 1820. He was the son of a slave woman and an Irish slave owner whose last name was O'Bannion [source: BHS Quarterly, Autumn 1995, v.2, no.3, pp.4-5, online]. In Brantford, Ontario, Simon Peter O'Banyoun became a British citizen and was minister of an African Methodist Episcopal Church in the 1840s and 1850s, and later joined the British Methodist Episcopal Church [source: The Journey from Tollgate to Parkway by A. Shadd]. Simon P. O'Banyoun was said to be a very respected and influential man in Brantford, Ontario. He donated land for the first AME Church in Brantford, it was located at the corner of Dalhousie and Murray Streets. O'Banyoun and Henry W. Bibb, who had also escaped slavery in Kentucky, wrote "Yankee Prejudice" in Bibb's paper Voice of the Fugitive, 01/30/1852. Simon P. O'Banyoun is mentioned on p.110 in Natasha L. Henry's book Emancipation Day: celebrating freedom in Canada; Peter O'Banyoun gave a speech at the Emancipation Day celebration in Brantford, Ontario, August 1, 1856. Simon Peter O'Banyoun was the husband of Sophia Wright, they were married in Brantford, Ontario, July 19, 1832, and the couple would have several children including singer Rev. Joseph O'Banyoun who was head of the O'Banyoun Singers. The group's name was in honor of Peter O'Banyoun. For more see Family Trees in or Ancestry Library Edition; and "Black History Month: Canadian Jubilee Singer Joseph O'Banyoun" an Olive Tree Genealogy Blog; and see "Simon Peter O'Banyoun" in Autobiography of a Fugitive Negro: his anti-slavery labors in the United States, Canada & England by S. R. Ward; and in The Black Abolitionist Papers, v.2, Canada, 1830-1865 by C. P. Ripley.


*In Kentucky, the last name was probably spelled O'Bannon. There were a few men with the last name O'Bannon who received land grants in Kentucky in the late 1700s and early 1800s. For more on Kentucky land grants see Kentucky Land and Property, a FamilySearch website.


Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“O'Banyoun, Simon Peter,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2019-10-03 15:45:32